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Entertaining on a Shoestring Budget

Do you want to socialize with friends and family while spending as little money as possible? Your guests will appreciate the quality time together as well as the frugality of these events. Here are a few ideas that are proven winners:

  • Covered-dish dinners: Hosts provide the main course, and guests bring side dishes and desserts. The benefits of this type of gathering are that no one has too much work or cost to absorb and everyone gets to try lots of new and varied dishes. Bring the kids, hire one babysitter or older child to sit or entertain the children in the basement (or a separate part of the house), and the adults can visit or play cards upstairs or in the living room.

  • Wine-tasting party: This type of get together can be a very educational and fun experience (and not to mention thrifty). Here’s how it works: The host’s responsibilities are to invite friends or family, lay out the rules, and provide glasses, crackers, fruit, and cheese for all. Then guests each bring a bottle of wine. The host predetermines the rules, such as the following: Bring red wine, $10/bottle maximum, with bottles disguised in paper bags. After all the guests have arrived, randomly number the bags, open the wine bottles, and begin the tasting. Discuss the characteristics and qualities of each wine and vote on your favorite while enjoying your cheese, fruit, and crackers and the company of your friends. At the end, unveil the winning selection.

  • Football party: Hosts provide the theme entrée, which has something to do with the opposing team. For example, if your team is playing the Miami Dolphins you may want to serve fish tacos, or for the Tennessee Titans, Greek gyros. Guests bring drinks. Rotate hosts with each game.

  • Game night: Invite two to four people over after dinner to play Farkel (dice game of skill and luck; all you need is six dice and the instructions, which you can find on the Internet) or another game of your choice.

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